18 Mar

Canine Companions for Independence service project

The 2nd graders have been hard at work, participating in our annual Canine Companions for Independence service project. C.C.I. is an organziation that provides trained service dogs to people, including children, with varying needs. Every year the 2nd graders meet Carol Swain, a volunteer puppy raiser for C.C.I.. Carol introduces the children to the C.C.I. mission as well as the puppies that she trains. The children were thrilled to meet and greet both Ty and Pedro, Carol’s current puppies in training. In order to raise money for this organization, the children made pledges and participated in a read-a-thon, raising over $1000! With the money we raised, we purchased items from the C.C.I. wish list. As our culminating experience, the children brought the purchased items to the C.C.I. training center in Medford, Long Island. While there, the children toured the training facility and were able to meet other C.C.I. volunteers, employees and dogs in training. The children learn so much about themselves and the world when they are given the opportunity to think about and help others. This has certainly been an experience that the 2nd graders will always remember.

18 Mar

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: First Graders Build Houses and Homes

Submitted by the Jen Koteles, Madison Farrar and Doran Muus

Our first-grade class completed their annual study of houses and homes. Our exploration of houses began with observations of homes in our local community and branches out to observations of houses and homes around the world.

We started the unit by taking a walk in the neighborhood surrounding the D-E campus.  We talked about the architectural details of the houses as well as the elements involved in the construction of a home.  The children were very observant and noticed different design elements and details.

This year’s unit focused on climate and necessity as we expanded our study across the globe.  We use what we learned through this study as a central focus for several math, language, art, science and social studies activities.  This integrated unit of study is something that we explored for a number of weeks.

As a culminating activity, first graders constructed models of houses from a variety of cultures in early March.  The success of this project relied heavily on the many parent volunteers who helped to enrich the children’s experience by coming in to lend a hand with construction and painting.  Their enthusiastic participation in our study of houses was a valuable contribution to our learning.

The students were divided into six “construction companies” and chose a company name. Then the company decided what type of home they wanted to build. The children learned the keys to success when working in a group; cooperation, collaboration, communication and compromise. The children worked hard to listen to, and incorporate, everyone’s ideas in a respectful manner. The homes this year include a green house, an apartment building, a house on stilts with a thatch roof, an adobe, a houseboat, and a log cabin that were presented to the full Lower School community during a recent assembly.

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18 Mar

(NEW) Message from the Principal

Dear Lower School Families,

One of the hallmarks of being a part of the D-E community is having opportunities to gather as an adult community to learn together.

During the October 2015 grade-level parent forums, Lower School parents gathered to learn from the classroom teachers about some important features of the academic program for this school year.  For example, the preschool 4 teachers demonstrated our approach to teaching handwriting and the third-grade teachers introduced literacy and mathematics.

As a means for preparing for the April 2016 parent forums, I would really like to encourage families to register for an evening event that is being sponsored by the

D-E Parents Association.  On the evening of April 13, two authors, Jessica Lahey and Julia Lythcott-Haims, will be offering an opportunity for us to learn together about the ways to support our children, and each other, along the journey of raising wonderful adults.  And, as an added feature, our very own Lower School Parent, Kenneth Cain, will be moderating the event!

As a parent and principal, I look forward to learning with you on the evening of April 13th and hope that you will join me.  Please use the link below to register.

Registration Link

Warm regards,

Kim Lewis

04 Mar

Jump Rope For Heart!

Submitted by Mrs. Franco

We are entering a new generation of physical education which stresses fitness, fun and learning. The goal is for all students to grow in the areas of movement and fitness while learning to interact appropriately with one another. Students are able to discover the benefits of living an active lifestyle and their own individual strength by participating in a variety of enjoyable physical activities.

The winter months means indoor activities and the first through fifth grade students have been learning basketball, floor hockey, rhythmic activities and gymnastics. The belief is that the learning of basic motor and manipulative skills associated with sports and game skills, recreational activities, body management skills and rhythmic skills during elementary school physical education will increase the chances that students will be active in their adult lives.  My hope is that each student will hold onto at least one activity they truly enjoy, providing them with a foundation to support healthy and active living throughout their lives. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to coach many “lifers” as they go through the Middle and Upper School athletic program. I am always impressed with the valuable contributions they make to our teams.

Jump Rope for Heart is our big event.  In preparation for this, we have been trying to keep as active as possible and learn how our heart functions. Jump Rope for Heart is the perfect complement to our FitnessGram program. Both programs stress challenging oneself to improve and the importance of good nutrition by showing how the body functions, and of course, having fun while being physically active. I’ve had family members suffer with heart disease and want all my students to understand that a healthy lifestyle can prevent this all too common condition.

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04 Mar

Bee-Bots and Find Friends in Preschool 4


Mrs. Nicolaou, Lower School technology teacher, has been working in the Lower School for over 10 years. As technology has changed ever so rapidly over the years, the Lower School technology program has as well to include a number of current applications that are exciting to young children. Below is an article submitted by Mrs. Nicolaou that provides a glimpse into programming with our students in preschool 4. Stay tuned for other articles about Mrs. Nicolaou and her work with Lower School students.

Bee-Bots and Find Friends in Preschool 4:

Submitted by Christine Nicolaou

Our preschool 4 children are being introduced to robotics and programming using little robots called Bee-Bots. Easy to operate and friendly, these little robots are a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem solving and, of course, having fun!

Bee-Bots can remember up to 40 commands. They can be programed to move forward, backward, turn left or right by pressing the arrow keys located on the body. Once the sequence is entered, the child presses the GO key to send Bee-Bot on its way.

photo1Bee-Bot stops, beeps, and blinks after each step so the child can follow along as it executes the program. Our children love to teach Bee-Bot how to move from place to place and distinguish between left and right just like they do.

Mats are available to use with the Bee-Bot. The one shown in the picture below is made up of a simple grid of 6-inch boxes that corresponds to Bee-Bot’s moves. The children were given challenges to program the Bee-Bot to move thru the grid toward a letter or number that was placed in one of the squares.

As programming and robotics are important 21st century skills, these early experiences will give our students an introduction to the basic concepts while solving challenges that build their confidence and knowledge in sequencing, letter recognition, math facts and more.